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Today begins the 46-day season of Lent – my favorite part of the church calendar. Whether you fast from something or take something on in the coming days, I hope you’ll observe it in some way. The joy of Easter morning is at its fullest and best after these weeks of penitence.ash_cross

Psalm 51:
1 Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.

2 Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

11 Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.


Passing through Barnes & Noble (the grown-up equivalent of the toy store) a couple of weeks ago yielded four purchases from the $1 table. What a steal! Came away with some good stuff:

  • Eating My Words by Mimi Sheraton. Sheraton was a food critic for the New York Times and writes about food, travel, and writing. Three things I love–how could it not be good?
  • God’s Politics by Jim Wallis. How this got on the $1 table is beyond me. Great book I’ve been meaning to buy for years.
  • Talking Back … to Presidents, Dictators, and Assorted Scoundrels by journalist Andrea Mitchell. Who knew she was married to Alan Greenspan? Shocking.
  • An illustrated coffee-table version of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Lovely addition to my Christmas decor.

Googling this phrase will bring up all sorts of interesting advice, but I love whaheartt the Deadly Viper guys posted today from Steve Harvey‘s new book.

When a man loves you, he will profess, provide, and protect.

He’ll do a lot of other things, too, but this is a terrific start.

Thanks for loving me, Mike Nelson.

Mike and I have tried to make a practice in our marriage of praying together daily, typically in the mornings. Lately, we’ve moved to the cell phone prayer which, admittedly, took no small amount of getting used to. Rather than trying to eat my cereal in a whirlwind of milk and Cheerios so we can pray before Mike leaves, we make use of the hour or so he spends driving to work.

In these morning prayers, we are intentionally small. For the most part, we pray about things happening that day – doctor’s appointments, meetings with customers, projects that need completing, and other daily issues.

The best part about it is that when I’m in the middle of trying to get a project finished and out the door, it brings me peace to know my husband is asking God to help me with it. When he’s having lunch with a friend, I think Mikey likes knowing I’m praying for him to receive and impart Godly wisdom.

Mike and I celebrated our seventh annual Valentine’s Day Salute to Obesity by wearing sweatpants to the Chinese buffet and eating until we wanted to barf. It was fantastic. The food highlight this year was, for me, the deep-fried crab and cream cheese won ton. For Mikey, I think it was a tie between sesame chicken and General Tso’s. Ahhhh.rangoon1

We were joined by our great friends Kristen and Erik – a very welcome and fun addition. Afterward we had our little small group Bible study at Starbucks. Still wearing our sweatpants. On Valentine’s night.

I love being so comfortable (physically and emotionally).

Last weekend I heard a good friend speak about the fact that many of his greatest memories exist within the walls of our campus ministry house at Georgia Tech. He talked about where he was sitting when he first understood God’s unending love. He remembered where he stood when a guy asked him to explain Jesus.

I was moved by it all because I have similar memories in that house. I can still point to the spot on the carpet where I sat for my first Bible study. I can recount (nearly verbatim) conversations that took place in the hallway just inside the door.

Where are your memories? What physical locations house the most significant times in your life?


The Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar has got an issue with the word “got.” In other news, there’s a Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar.

Thanks, Jay.

At the request of my good friend Amanda, here’s a little insight into my taste buds from this past weekend. My love gave me a pasta machine for Christmas and we put it to good use. Here’s the plan:


3 c all-purpose flour (use whole wheat flour if you like, or a mix of both)freshpasta
3 eggs, beaten
1 tsp salt
1 Tblsp olive oil

Shape the flour into a volcano on a smooth surface (I did it directly on my Corian countertop, but if you have tile or textured laminate, use a smooth cutting board or marble slab). Combine remaining 3 ingredients in a bowl, then pour into the well of the volcano. Make sure the structural integrity of your volcano is sound, lest you end up with a flowing mass of egg lava.

Incorporate flour into egg mixture with a fork until egg mixture takes the form of dough, then begin kneading dough and incorporating more flour. Work about 4-6 T water into the dough, one T at a time. Keep incorporating flour until dough is smooth and not sticky and easily rebounds when you press a fingertip into it. Cover and let dough rest for 30-60 mins, then cut into the shapes of your choice with a pasta machine.

If you don’t have a pasta machine, you can easily roll it out and cut with a pizza cutter, pastry wheel, or shape it into small ropes with your hands. Just remember that it will double (at least) in size when you cook it, so don’t make your noodles too large.

Cook in boiling, salted water until noodles float, 2-3 minutes.


Start with a thick Bechamel of 3 T butter, 3 T flour, 1/2 t salt, and 1/2 cup skim milk plus 1/2 cup half-and-half. You can use only milk if you like; we were just feeling rich.

Once sauce thickens, add dry white wine until sauce reaches desired consistency (it took a little over 1/4 cup for me). Add 3 cloves minced garlic (I added garlic here so it wouldn’t be fully cooked, giving the sauce a little bite and a more garlicky flavor; achieve a milder flavor by sauteeing garlic in the butter you melt for the Bechamel), about 8 oz fresh crabmeat, and lots of parmesan. Toss with cooked fresh pasta.

Makes enough to feed 2-3 people.

My honey and I are in the market for not one but two new-to-us cars. Both of us are pushing 200k miles, and we know it won’t be long before the transmission falls out or the engine explodes.

Our experiences have reminded me of an overused ploy by “marketers” to get us to buy their junk. They act like they won’t be able to sell whatever it is for this low, low price tomorrow. But it’s just not true.

If someone will sell you a 2005 Honda Pilot with 50k miles for $14,000 today, then you can get it for that price tomorrow. Or next week. You just have to be patient.

Typically, a sale is not a limited opportunity to buy something at a reduced price. It’s a clue to what you should really pay for the item.